Yellow Perch

Yellow perch are one of the best baits for catching northern pike.  However, each state or even a certain body of water may have its own regulations for using perch as bait.  Many states allow it, but many states do not so make sure you know the fishing regulations before you use perch as bait.

Popular Techniques

Casting to Cover

A drop shot rig, bobber, or weightless rig are all great rigs to use when casting to cover for northern pike.  Target the weed lines or pockets in the vegetation and you’ll catch pike.


When the wind starts to blow, you can drift a lively perch along a drop-off or weed line and do very well.  On the rocky lakes that are known for walleye and pike, you can also do well just drifting along the drop-offs.


Many anglers prefer to jig for walleye and they end up catching a lot of northern pike in the process.  If you want to specifically target northern pike by jigging, it can be very effective with live baits.

Slow Trolling

Slow trolling is very effective for pike and it works great with a lively perch as well.  This technique can be effective in shallow water, but is usually more productive by fishing deeper water.

Still Fishing

Still fishing is easy and if you get in the right spot, it can be an effective way to fish for pike.  Drop down a lively perch and let it do the work for you.

Best Live Bait Rigs

A well placed perch under a bobber or slip bobber is one of the better ways to target pike around vegetation.

This rig is a great live bait rig.  Most anglers use the Carolina rig when fishing deeper water.

The drop shot rig is an awesome way to fish a lively perch.  Fish it shallow, deep, in open water or around cover and you can have a lot of success.

A simple jighead and perch is one of the easiest ways to target northern pike when fishing around rocky bottoms or out in open water.

The split shot rig is a great rig when you just need a little extra weight to get your perch down farther through the water column.  Most anglers use this rig when the pike are shallow and it can be super effective.